Ideas page

Digital Camera Security (10/6/2003). A friend has just lost his digital camera - it was not a cheap model, so he is not very happy. While talking about it the other day he mentioned 'if only it had a PIN number like mobile telephones'. This got me thinking.

Mobile phones have been targeted by thieves for quite a while now, and in terms of value, many other portable electronic items such as cameras are much more valuable. However few, if any, have any security features!

Some manufacturers now keep a database of lost or stolen items so if an item is returned to be fixed, it is known to be stolen when they check the serial number. This is a good idea!

Why not build in some security features? I read this morning (IEE Review June 2003) that a company called Pointsec has invented 'PicturePIN' for PDAs. The user has a PIN which is a sequence of pictures for his PDA which is selected from a random sequence of pictures shown on the screen - great as most PDAs don't have keyboards. Could such a scheme be added to other electronic equipment such as cameras? Most digital cameras have a joypad type button with up, left, down, right and OK options - so no extra keys would be required. Of course some users would not want the faff of entering such a code each time they wanted to take a photo so the scheme must be optional - just as a PIN number on a mobile phone is optional.